Why Faith has a Christian School

Girl smiling while working on homework in classroomCrank it Up

There is an incredible amount of activity right now in Indianapolis surrounding education reform.  Legislators are asking tough questions and the rhetoric has reached historic levels.  Everybody knows change is the air and that very well may be a good thing.

Our church has purposely taken a careful approach to what we say publicly about these matters.  We do not want to be detracted from our core mission by becoming what amounts to a Political Action Committee for any particular cultural cause.  Like the apostle Paul, “we preach Christ crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23).

Only one way?

The Bible does not mandate one particular educational choice that must be used by every Christian parent.  Therefore as a church, we seek to strengthen the hands of every parents and educator in our church and community, whether they have chosen to be involved in a public, home, or Christian school.

Then Why Faith Christian School?

That being said, our church family decided fifteen years ago to invest significant resources into launching Faith Christian School.  By God’s grace, what started as a small group of 48 students and a handful of faculty members has blossomed into a student body of nearly 670 students with all the staff, facilities, and resources necessary to provide the kind of education that has garnered dual accreditation from both the State of Indiana and an independent Christian accrediting body.

However, as things grow and develop, it is often important to revisit the basics.  Why do we have a Christian school?  Is it so we can have prayer at the beginning of the day?  Not really.  It is because we want to have chapel each week?  No, that’s not it either.  Smaller class sizes?  Tighter discipline?  A conservative dress code?  Etc., etc.?

In a word?

We started Faith Christian School to put our students in the best possible position to fall in love with Jesus. Period.  “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.  For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me” (Colossians 1:28-29).

So do we pray before our classes?  Of course, but not as some sort of religious exercise.  We hope our young people develop a kind of communion with Jesus that is regular and natural.  Our goal is that chapel is a time of passionate worship that reflects the way the students have been worshipping Christ in their other classes and relationships throughout the day.  We pray that our kids learn to dress not to satisfy a code, but to honor their Redeemer.  We want them to develop the Spirit’s fruit of self-control not to avoid demerits, but to use their hearts, minds, tongues, and bodies to conform their lives to the redemptive plan of their Savior.  Every aspect of our curriculum, sports and fine arts programs–the entire ministry, is designed to be saturated with the sweet savor of Jesus Christ.

To assist parents

Godly parents have these same desires for their children regardless of their school choice.  Faith Christian exists to assist moms and dads in teaching and modeling an approach to life where Jesus “Himself will come to have first place in everything” (Colossians 1:18).  Does that mean that these ideals cannot be reached without a Christian school?  No, but parents who choose other options would be wise to do everything in their power to find ways to shepherd their child’s heart in the ways of Christ.  Does this also mean that a parent who chooses a Christian school has automatically accomplished the task?  Not at all.  That is one of things that many of the educational reformers down in Indianapolis are getting right these days — the final responsibility for educating a child does not rest with the state (or the church for that matter), but with the parent.  Wise is the parent who chooses an educational team–whether formal or informal–to help them do their job well.

It’s Registration Time

The pre-registration period for current students is underway at Faith.  New students can begin registering March 1st.  If you have school age children, I would encourage you to carefully consider God’s will in this matter.  If nothing else, take a tour of the school if you have never done so before.  Meet with the administrators.  If finances are a concern, talk with the leadership team openly and see if their are any solutions.

Christian Education Changed my Life

When I was a sophomore in high school, I was at a real crossroads.  I had to decide if I was going to begin moving toward the Lord or away from Him.  The pressures to live for sin and myself were incredibly powerful.  Then I met a group of students from a small Christian school.  What impressed me immediately was their genuine love for the Lord.  They weren’t hyper-pious or just putting on a front for their parents and teachers.  I got to know them when it was just us–a group of students hanging out together.  Here’s what I discovered.  They were real.  That’s it–real, genuine, authentic.  They didn’t have to wear their religion on their sleeves because they had a Redeemer in their hearts.  They had something my soul desperately longed for.  I would have sold everything I had to find what they possessed.

My parents were kind enough to let me change schools.  The difference wasn’t the beauty of the building (it was pitiful) or the impressive degrees of the teachers (they were simply good people doing their very best).  Here’s what was unique–Jesus was there.  Everywhere.  In the classroom.  On the soccer field.  In the parking lot.  Christ-centered education changed my life.  And I will be eternally grateful.

Steve Viars
Dr. Viars has served as a pastor and counselor at Faith since 1987. He is an author, national speaker, and Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Biblical Counseling Coalition.